Even though it didn't play a game on conference championship weekend, Ohio State's body of work looked plenty good enough to make the College Football Playoff. That became a fact on Sunday.
The Buckeyes are the No. 3 team in the 2016 Playoff and are scheduled to play No. 2 Clemson at 7 p.m. ET in a National Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Eve. Ohio State and the ACC Champion Tigers swapped spots between Tuesday and the final rankings on Sunday afternoon.
No. 1 Alabama is set to face No. 4 Washington in the other National Semifinal at the Peach Bowl, also on New Year's Eve. That game kicks off at 3 p.m. ET.
Big Ten Champion Penn State checked in at No. 5 after topping Wisconsin on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Michigan finished at No. 6, two spots outside the Playoff.
Ohio State shared the Big Ten East crown with Penn State after compiling an 8-1 conference record but James Franklin's team represented the division in Indianapolis because it defeated the Buckeyes 24-21 on Oct. 22. But Urban Meyer's club rebounded and won its final five games, included a 30-27 thrilling come from behind victory over the rival Wolverines in double overtime in the regular season finale.
When it came down to it, though, it was clear the committee felt the Buckeyes simply owned a better body of work than Penn State despite losing to the Nittany Lions.
“As recent as this morning, we came back to our protocol and that is identifying the four best teams in college football,” selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said. “Conference championships is only one of those metrics.”
Meyer, who led the Buckeyes to the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship in 2014, told reporters after the win against Michigan he felt his team belonged alongside the best in the sport.
“I think we're one of the top teams in the country,” Meyer said. “Once again, I don't really know that. I go week to week, and I love my players.”
Turns out, his next week to week process will be preparing for Dabo Swinney's Tigers, who handed Meyer one of his five losses since he became the head coach of the Buckeyes ahead of the 2012 season. Clemson defeated Ohio State 40-35 in the 2013 Orange Bowl.
|3||OHIO STATE||BIG TEN||11-1|
|5||PENN STATE||BIG TEN||11-2|
|12||OKLAHOMA STATE||BIG 12||9-3|
|16||WEST VIRGINIA||BIG 12||10-2|